Where Are Cayley Mandadi’s Parents Now?

Cayley's mother and stepfather

Experiencing the loss of a child is an agonizing ordeal, and regrettably, this was the heart-wrenching journey Cayley Mandadi’s parents had to endure. In October 2017, they received the devastating news that their daughter was declared brain dead, prompting her transfer to a medical facility in Kyle, Texas, for additional treatment. Tragically, Cayley succumbed to her injuries just a day later, and her then-boyfriend Mark Howerton became the prime suspect in the case.

In 2019, Mark’s trial was dismissed due to a hung jury, but during his retrial in 2023, he was found guilty of aggravated assault causing bodily injury. The CBS program ’48 Hours: For the Love of Cayley Mandadi’ covers Cayley Mandadi’s murder case, includes an interview with Cayley’s mother, Alison Steele, and provides insights about her father, Tilak Mandadi.

Who are Cayley Mandadi’s Parents?

Cayley Mandadi was born to Tilak Mandadi and Alison Steele. By 2017, her parents had separated, and her mother had married Lawrence Baitland, residing in Houston and her father was working as an International Executive for MGM Resorts. Despite the separation, Cayley maintained a positive relationship with both of her parents, regularly engaging in conversations with them. During the 2019 trial of Mark Howerton, accused of Cayley’s murder, Tilak Mandadi had the opportunity to testify on the stand and shared, “We made a commitment to talk every day,” he said. “So she called me that Friday. I was very tired so I said let’s talk on Saturday. Let’s go through your next semester and she said yep.”

Image Credit: WOAI/YouTube

He added, “I was worried, concerned, frustrated because I was looking forward to talking to her.” On the morning of October 30, Cayley’s mother and stepfather received a call at 4 am informing them that Cayley was being admitted to a hospital in Kyle, Texas, and she was in a brain-dead condition. Alison revealed in the documentary that the injuries and bruises on her daughter’s body were severe, akin to falling from a plane. The overwhelming grief hit her when she lost Cayley permanently on October 31. Alison firmly believed that Mark Howerton was responsible for her daughter’s death. However, after the mistrial in 2019, the entire family felt deeply disappointed and hopeless.

During this time, Alison, a scientist, and Lawrence Baitland, a NASA engineer, decided to launch their investigation. They gathered all the evidence and autopsy reports from the police and focused on a small, round dot-like bruise near Cayley’s ear. Alison and Lawrence theorized that Mark might have pushed her head against the car window, causing it to hit the lock on the door and resulting in a bruise. They hoped this would establish his culpability. Identifying a similar Mercedes, the car Mark was driving that night, Lawrence took pictures posing in a manner they believed mirrored the circumstances under which Cayley could have injured her head.

Cayley Mandadi’s Parents are Trying to Heal Now

In 2019, Alison Steele, Cayley Mandadi’s mother, successfully lobbied the Texas legislature to pass legislation expanding Texas’ missing persons alert system. Subsequently, she established the non-profit organization Cayley’s Calling, which aims to consolidate missing person alert systems. Steele also launched a nonprofit dedicated to providing public information on the CLEAR Alert, Texas’ emergency broadcast alert for individuals aged 18 to 64. In addition to these efforts, she filed a civil lawsuit against Trinity University in 2021, alleging negligence in protecting her daughter.

Steele claimed that neither of Cayley’s guardians was informed when Mark Howerton vandalized her dorm room. She further proclaimed the university took no action against him, allegedly granting him continued access to her daughter and leaving her vulnerable to manipulation. It remains unclear whether the evidence Alison and Lawrence gathered was presented in Mark Howerton’s 2023 trial.

Nevertheless, he was acquitted of murder but found guilty of aggravated assault causing bodily injury. The court mandated Mark to pay a $10,000 fine and restitution to Cayley’s family. Prosecutors mentioned that the family expressed satisfaction with the sentencing, as they had endured prolonged suffering and were relieved to have concluded the legal proceedings, allowing them to commence the healing process. Cayley’s father, Tilak Mandadi, has maintained a low profile since then.

Read More: Mark Howerton: Where is Cayley Mandadi’s Ex-Boyfriend Now?